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RNC Day 1: Why The Convention Matters

Sarah Parvini |
August 27, 2012 | 5:58 p.m. PDT

Senior News Editor


The RNC kicks off with a whimper Monday. (Creative Commons/NewsHour)
The RNC kicks off with a whimper Monday. (Creative Commons/NewsHour)
While Tropical Storm Isaac pushes back the Republican National Convention in Tampa this week, the issues surrounding the GOP and the Romney-Ryan campaign aren't going anywhere.

At the RNC this week, the Republican party will formally nominate its presidential nominee. Now, we all know this will be Mitt Romney. But what is interesting to note is that despite Romney's presumptive nominee status, the party can't seem to fully throw itself behind him, or be gung-ho about his potential presidency. This is why we should care.

The party is battling itself, fighting RNC postponement due to the weather and dealing with a slew of negatives ads and comments that paint their nominee as a cold businessman who is detached from the average Joe. The party needs to band together if it wants to take back the White House, but it seems to be having trouble doing so. 

Republicans are still reeling from the emergence of the Tea Party as a faction within the GOP, as well as the shortcomings of the younger Bush's presidency--Romney needs to be able to overcome this and unite his party. According to the latest Politico poll, 46 percent of those surveyed support Mitt Romney, and 47 percent support Barack Obama. If Romney can rally the party, he might have a fighting chance. But consesus is key.

This is where Paul Ryan comes in. With any luck, the vice presidential pick will be able to rally the conservative, and often more radical base, which seems to feel lackluster-at-best about Romney.

The rest of the former candidates within the Republican party (i.e. Gingrich and Santorum) have released their delegates to Romney to put their support behind him, except for Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who has said as recently as yesterday that he does not "fully endorse him for president." Paul has several hundred delegates pledged to back him, which is more symbolic than anything else, but it is particularly telling of the division within the party when coupled with Charlie Crist's recent backing of Obama, despite his status as the former Republican governor of Florida.

Romney needs to use these three days (Tuesday - Thursday) of blanket coverage to really throw himself into the campaign and unite the party. Not only that, he needs to use the RNC to prove to the U.S. public that he can take the country in the right direction. And speaking of the "right direction" -- now is the time for Romney to fully map out a plan for the economy, social issues and foreign policy. The time for doublespeak, doublethink and generalizations is over--albeit, this is what political campaigns have become and perhaps it's a pipe dream to think that will change.

If Romney can take advantage of this opportunity to stand out, come off as relatable and make his platform clear, he might just put up a good fight. He is, after all, closing in on North Carolina, according to recent polls.

Reach Senior News Editor Sarah Parvini here; Follow her on Twitter here


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